When you purchase new clothes, you probably fall in one of two camps. There are people who always wash new clothes before they wear them and others who will walk out of the store in their brand new digs. Well, maybe not, but they definitely don’t wash their new clothes before wearing them. Turns out this could be a big mistake.
If you don’t wash your new clothes before you wear them, you run the risk of contracting allergic contact dermatitis. Basically, it is a red, itchy, and often painful rash that pops up a few days after coming in contact with the allergen. The worst part? It can last for weeks!
What is in new clothes gives you an allergic reaction?
So, what is it about new clothes that can give you an allergic reaction?
It is generally from the dyes in the clothing. Disperse dyes are usually used in polyester or nylon clothing. When you wash your clothing, it takes some of that out and you lower your risk of getting an allergic reaction from it. However, if your skin is very sensitive, just one wash might not cut it either.
Here’s what type of clothing is usually the culprit
Dermatologists admit that synthetic workout clothes are the most common cause these days. If you wear new clothes without washing them and start getting a rash, you should go to the doctor and get treated. The simple prevention method? Just wash your clothes before wearing them. It lowers your risk of a bad reaction.
If your skin is very sensitive, you may want to use a laundry detergent specifically made for sensitive skin as well. You could also develop a new allergy from the dye. This is rare, but if the dye goes into an open skin wound, it could give you a new allergy that you may have for the rest of your life.
Unfortunately, there are other chemicals that have been found in new clothes that can harm your skin. Researchers in Sweden tested 31 clothing samples from a variety of stores.
According to TIME, “the clothes were diverse in color, material, brand, country of manufacture, and price, and intended for a broad market. They found a type of chemical compound called “quinoline” (or one of its derivatives) in 29 of the 31 samples, and the levels of this chemical tended to be especially high in polyester garments.”
“Quinoline is used in clothing dyes, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as a “possible human carcinogen” based on some studies linking it to “tumor-initiating activity” in mice—though the agency also states that no human studies have been conducted to assess the cancer-causing potential of quinoline.”
Yikes! It is always your best bet to wash your new clothes before wearing them. Did you know that?